The Daily Gamecock

Men's Basketball remain undefeated with win over Lipscomb

South Carolina men's basketball remained undefeated after a 92-76 victory over Lipscomb Bisons Friday night.

The Gamecock's 6-0 start is its best since the 2003-04 season, which was the last time the Gamecocks earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

The game was back and forth early, with all 10 lead changes coming in the first half. The Gamecocks eventually stormed ahead with a 7-0 run midway through the half and maintained that lead throughout the remainder of the game. South Carolina led for 34:22, opposed to 4:10 by Lipscomb.

Center Laimonas Chatkevicius led the Gamecocks in scoring with 17 points on a perfect 7-7 shooting night. But head coach Frank Martin was critical of the 7-footer for his effort on the boards. Chatkevicius managed only three rebounds in 24 minutes, tying his season-low.

“He grabbed ... three rebounds, the whole game. That’s not very good… he stands there and watches other people rebound. I’m tired of screaming at him, I’m tired of making him run for not rebounding," Martin said. “If he doesn’t do it ... he will never be able to maximize who he is as a player, so he can earn dollars playing the game.” 

Chatkevicius is South Carolina’s leading scorer, averaging 16.3 points per game, but the fifth-best rebounder. Freshman forward Chris Silva continues to make his case for a starting job by nearly replicating Chatkevicius’ production on the boards in about half the minutes.

Silva’s 12 points, seven rebounds and defensive effort off the bench allowed the Gamecocks to maintain their lead, mainly in the second half, when Lipscomb cut a double-digit deficit to five. The Gamecocks were plus-23 in scoring with Silva on the court.

The Bisons’ Princeton-style offense, which is predicated on slashing and kick-outs, forced Martin to change from a man-to-man to a zone defense. Lipscomb ranks in nation’s top 10 for three-pointers made, and it showed on Friday night when the team converted 13 of its 35 three-point attempts. The defensive change proved to be beneficial for Martin, as Lipscomb shot 29.2 percent from three in the second half compared to 54.5 percent in the first half.

“Our defense absolutely stinks right now,” Martin said. “I knew I wanted to play zone and I finally decided to stop teaching our guys a lesson and decided to play zone. I knew this is a team that we couldn’t stay in the same defense for long period of time because they’re a rhythm team.” 

South Carolina’s defense ranks 169th in the country allowing 71.8 points per game, but its offense is tied for 30th
with the sixth-ranked Duke Blue Devils in points with 85.5 per game. 

The Gamecocks will look to extend their winning streak Monday night when they face Western Carolina at Colonial Life Arena.